2013-2014 Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program Awardee
San Diego, CA
I was a recent MSW graduate from SDSU bright eyed and anxious to leave my mark on the world. Spending a long 6 years of my college life learning and honing my skills as a clinician, I was eager to start accumulating clinical hours in order to provide therapeutic services to clients in any setting. Unfortunately I had other obligations that had to be addressed since I graduated. Having no financial resources I was forced to take student loans to support myself and pay for tuition. When I graduated I was no longer protected by the subsidies of my loans and financial payback was required immediately. Most jobs that I discovered that paid well did not offer clinical hours or required outside paid supervision. On the other hand, jobs that provided supervision and that were formatted to acquire hours quickly paid far less than other available jobs. Knowing that I had a family to support and also having to pay the loans off on a monthly basis, I was prepared to concede my dreams and aspirations for financial security for the family. In doing so I took a job in Escondido providing case management services and acting as a broker for mental health services. Although the job paid well, I was not acquiring any clinical hours and I began to see my dream of becoming an LCSW fade slowly. A colleague then introduced me to Health Professions Education Foundation’s MHLAP (Mental Health Loan Assumption Program). I quickly learned that the program would assist me in paying for my student loans if I were to simply work in a county or county contracted mental health career. This allowed me the opportunity to explore my goal of becoming a licensed therapist again without worrying about loan payments that would be looming over my head for the next 5 years. I applied for the program and was accepted. I now work as a Forensic Mental Health Clinician at a job that I enjoy while accumulating clinical hours and being supervised as part of the regular program. Although I have taken a reduction in pay in comparison with my previous job, I have now set myself up to pursue my ultimate career goal. This opportunity and current situation that I find myself in would never have been possible without the support from the Health Professions Education Foundation and its MHLAP.